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MANILA, Philippines — Two years into the pandemic, celebrity makeup artist and TV host Jigs Mayuga felt like all the stress and worry about the global crisis started to show in his face.

Apart from fine lines and wrinkles, the bloated or “siopao” look also became a threat to doctor Beverly Ong-Amoranto.

Due to the so-called “pandemic pounds” or weight gained due to lockdowns, many might find themselves in similar “siopao” situation, which could affect one’s confidence and mental health.

As such, Dr. Ong-Amoranto of internationally-recognized beauty company Merz Aesthetics, and Mayuga, one of the company’s brand ambassadors, shared some fast and natural ways to get rid of puffy face:

Hyaluronic Acid

US actress Zendaya arrives for TIME 100 Gala at Lincoln Center in New York, June 8, 2022 (left). She wears makeup that is on-trend now, said celebrity makeup artist Jigs Mayuga (right, with fellow Merz Aesthetics brand ambassador, actress Regine Angeles). Jigs tried the Easy Adapt HA Filler administered by Dr. Beverly Ong-Amoranto (centre).

AFP/Angela Weiss; Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

Hyaluronic Acid (HA), according to Dr. Beverly, is naturally produced by the body as a lubricant that attracts water to the skin, tissues and eyes and holds it there, keeping the skin and joints naturally youthful and moisturized.

But as one age, the body’s capacity to produce enough HA that the body needs depletes, so Dr. Beverly advised medical interventions like Merz Aesthetics’ Easy Adapt HA Filler.

“HA fillers – the science behind it… think of it as highly purified sugar. But the difference between this and the other brands is the way it’s produced. This product comes in a whole range that easily adapts into the skin. It has variations especially for a particular area of ​​the face – the eyes, lips, jawline, chin,” dermatologist Dr. Jonathan Yu explained to

Ong-Amoranto expounded that Easy Adapt HA Filler comes in different variants – in varying degrees of intensity and skin-improving benefits – wherein the HA fillers are injected in personalized doses depending on a patient’s needs.

If you, for example, slept more on one side of your body or chewed your food more on one side of your mouth, your face could become asymmetrical, with the side where you slept on more looking flatter than the other side. In contrast, the side of the face you used less for chewing could also look less contoured as the other half where there is more chewing, which could produce more exercised muscles and tissues. As a result, your face might look imbalanced – with one side flat and the other bloated – and might be shy to face the camera head-on and get used to taking selfies only on the flatter side of your face or your so-called “ angle.”

So, besides sleeping on both sides of the body and chewing on both sides of the mouth, to make the face look more proportioned, Dr. Beverly recommended injecting HA fillers near the temples, with more applied into the more bloated side of the face to lift the cheekbones, as higher cheekbones give one a more youthful look.

If the face is too round, she would also prescribe injecting fillers on the chin so the fillers would elongate the face and give it a new, more oval face shape. Studies show that the more oval the face, the more attractive it is.

“Your face is so round, but if we elongate it a bit, then it looks slimmer,” enthused Dr. Yu. “You might not lose weight but it’s the illusion that you look slimmer.”

Needles are actually used only to create openings, but the fillers are delivered through cannula, which makes tunnels in the skin that would eventually stimulate the body’s own collagen production, Dr. Beverly explained.

Although results, such as instantly lifted face and smaller pores, can be immediately seen right after the roughly 30-minute Easy Adapt HA Filler session, the benefits would even get better after 10 to 14 days, Ong-Amoranto assured, because the fillers have adapted to one’s tissues by then, thereby boosting the body’s natural collagen production.

“At first I was a bit apprehensive because when you talk about filler you think about lip filler… I’ve seen a lot of lip fillers, especially in my job, gone wrong when it’s too much. Because when you apply lipstick on lips that have been filled too much, sometimes, the lipstick does not adhere to the lips. And sometimes it can look unnatural,” shared Mayuga.

But the celebrity makeup artist believed that besides the technology which has improved through the years, how doctors administer the fillers is also important. After consulting his own dermatologist, Mayuga gave the fillers a go.

“I’m actually happy with the results because it does not look like my face is filled… The bags under my eyes are gone and I looked like I had enough sleep at night,” he shared.

When asked if the procedure was painful, he said: “It was uncomfortable. Because the filler in itself has anesthetic, painkiller… When you inject it, there was a bit of discomfort but after a while, you feel like there’s something but it’s not really painful. You feel weird that there’s a foreign object inside your skin.”

He compared the pain to muscle soreness post-workout – “stiff and swollen but unnoticeable” and there was “no bruising and redness.”

“There was a downtime but it’s manageable name and since I work with the mask, people really didn’t notice that my face was puffy or sore for a few days. But then that’s it! There wasn’t really a major side effect,” he assured.

Since getting the treatment, he has also been saving time in getting his angles right for photographs. A less robust face also makes him more comfortable at taking pictures.

“I don’t wear makeup so when I take my photos, I manipulate the lighting so I’d look fresh… because harsh lights could reveal my dark under-eyes,” shared Mayuga, who sometimes used a reflector below his chin so the dark under-eyes would not be seen in photos.

But since having the fillers, “Now, even without manipulating the lighting… parang bumata ako ng five to 10 years,” he enthused.

Sourced from Germany (Merz Aesthetics is part of Merz Group based in Germany), Easy Adapt HA Filler is made from patented Cohesive Polydensified Matrix technology, which is Food and Drug Administration-approved in the Philippines, USA and Europe, said Yu, who recommended undergoing the treatment every after two years to continue reaping its face-sculpting benefits.

Gua Sha stone, topicals

Directions for using Gua Sha Stone

LK Care via Lazada Philippines, screenshot

Gua Sha stone is a big beauty trend nowadays and for several reasons. Licensed acupuncturist Tim Sobo told that this stone cut from natural rose quartz or jade could alleviate muscular and skeletal problems like tightness in the back and shoulders. It is used in Chinese traditional medicine to also reduce migraines and neck pain.

According to Ong-Amoranto, HA Filler can be maintained and enhanced post-treatment with the application of topicals like serums with HA, retinols, sunblock, skin-type-appropriate moisturizer, toner for brighter skin (but not for dry skin), and Her personal favorite for rosy cheeks, tomato cream. If topicals are massaged on the face using a Gua Sha stone — in sideward motion on top of the lips and upward on the forehead and from chin to cheek — this could lessen facial bloating by relieving tension, sinuses and swelling.

Make up

With an HA Filler, Mayuga said: “I don’t feel the need to put on makeup.”

But, “a little bit of makeup enhances the faces of those who had fillers,” he claimed.

Besides strobing and contouring, Mayuga shared a simple trendy makeup trick to de-puff and brighten up one’s face: “There are a lot of pastels now because of Zendaya’s HBO series ‘Euphoria’ – glitters, blues, purples, greens… I think it’s great because people are used to warm makeup tones. I think it’s nice to see a little bit of color when it comes to makeup.”

Drink a lot of water

Contrary to the myth, drinking two to three liters of water in a day does not bloat the face. Dehydration and inadequate water intake is actually the one that does so, said Dr. Ong-Amoranto, as backed by many studies.

Finishing the contents of an entire water dispenser in a day helps Mayuga and his partner keep their skin soft and supple, but not ballooned.

Avoid sugar

Ong-Amoranto, who is also into Integrative Medicine that combines traditional treatments and complementary therapies, advised to get rid of too much saccharine, which makes kidneys work overtime and therefore leaves skin dehydrated, which manifests as puffiness and sagging in the face, especially around the eyes

Go gluten free

Ong-Amoranto suggested choosing gluten-free food since gluten, the protein found in grains like barley, wheat and rye, can result in leaky gut and inflammation, which makes itself known by making the face swollen or puffy.

Take more probiotics

According to Ong-Amoranto, probiotics from sources like probiotic drinks, yogurt, miso and kimchi, promote good bacteria into the gut, thereby preventing overall body bloating and inflammation.

Avoid preservatives, canned food

Ong-Amoranto recommended this as preservatives, which are also found in canned goods, are high in carbohydrates and sodium that produce bloating and water retention or edema, resulting in what Hollywood star Julianne Moore dubbed as the “sushi face” (if the sushi is made of refined carbohydrates and processed soy sauce).

Have enough sleep

Studies and Ong-Amoranto cautioned against having too little or too much sleep as lying down makes fluid to rest and collect in the face. The doctor stressed that one’s sleeping position may also make the bulging worse. Thus, she suggested dozing off by lying down alternately on both sides of the body.


“Exercise – nakaka-firm talaga ng skin ang exercise!” Mayuga attested.

dr Rashmi Shetty, India-based dermatologist and influencer, shared to her 191,000 followers on Instagram that facial puffiness could be a result of tiredness, lymphatic stagnation or lack of movement.

According to her, simple facial exercises, such as the following, can help de-puff the face:

  • Start your day by sitting straight then looking up, down, then side to side.
  • Give muscles around the eyes a “workout” by closing your eyes tightly then opening them wide.
  • Move your eyeballs in different directions – look up, then down, then move them as if forming a whole circle clockwise, then anti-clockwise.

Through simple ways like these, you can get rid of that “siopao” face without resorting to drastic measures or treatments with side effects like swelling that Dr. Yu described, “as if you had boxing with (Manny) Pacquiao.”

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